From the repeal of collective bargaining to the recall elections to voter ID, in the past year Wisconsin has been a battleground state. Considering that our campus and our Capitol are at the epicenter of these debates, one would think that the President of the United States would have mentioned our city more frequently.
In February 2011, when Act 10 was first proposed, it set off a chain reaction that lead to the largest protests seen in Madison since the Vietnam War – the flight of Democratic senators from the state and several recall elections flipped our Senate from red to blue. During that time, for purely political reasons, very little was heard from President Barack Obama about these events.
After a short two-year absence, Obama is returning to Madison. In that time, much has changed. When he speaks on Bascom Hill, I want to hear the President address the events in Wisconsin that he so cautiously avoided. I want to hear him talk about collective bargaining, the recalls and voter ID.
The President’s visit has been titled A Grassroots Event with Barack Obama. This is an excellent title, tailored to the city of Madison. However, I hope this implies that he will be speaking about the grassroots movement that took place in Madison after he left.
There is no better place than Madison for President Obama to visit the day after a debate with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. It is a beautiful city steeped in the principles of Democratic ideals.
Many in attendance will be there just to catch a glimpse of the President – others will attend because they want to support him in his reelection. But I am certain there are a few people who would like to hear that he is aware of what is going on in our city.
Jared Mehre (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a sophomore majoring in political science and sociology with a certificate in criminal justice.